Facing widespread for its hypocrisy and growing inequities between coaches and players, the National Collegiate Athletic Association will pay for family travel to national championship games.
Under a new pilot program Tuesday, the NCAA said it will help cover expenses for players' families to travel to the Men's and Women's Final Four this spring. Responding to a chorus of critics, the NCAA will also assist with expenses for family travel to Monday's inaugural $1 billion College Football Playoff national championship game in Arlington, Texas.
The NCAA will pay up to $3,000 total in travel, hotel and meal expenses for family members of each student-athlete who competes in the Final Four semifinal games but don’t advance to the championships. The NCAA will pay up to $4,000 in expenses for each of the student-athletes who compete in the men’s and women’s basketball championship games. The College Football Playoff may provide up to $3,000 in travel expenses for families of each competing student-athlete.
The announcement comes at a time when the NCAA has never been a bigger business and follows a dramatic spike in college football and basketball coach compensation.
In a statement, NCAA President Mark Emmert said championship experiences like the Final Four create memories of a lifetime for student-athletes, and the association wants to make sure their families are there to support them.
"From multiyear scholarships to opportunities to return to school and complete their degree on scholarship, we have been dedicated to further improving the student-athlete experience," Emmert said. "Providing travel expenses for student-athletes’ families is another example of this progress."